[Daily article] December 18: John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan

John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (b. 18 December 1934), known as Lord
Lucan, disappeared without trace in 1974. Born in Marylebone, he
attended Eton College and served with the Coldstream Guards, later
becoming a professional gambler. Lucan had expensive tastes; he raced
power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963 he married Veronica
Duncan, with whom he had three children, but the marriage collapsed in
1972 and he moved out of the family home in Belgravia. He lost a bitter
custody battle, began to spy on his wife and children, and incurred
gambling losses. In November 1974 the children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett,
was murdered in the basement of the Lucan family home. Lady Lucan was
also attacked and she identified Lucan as her assailant. As the police
investigated, Lucan drove to a friend’s house in East Sussex; hours
later, he left and was never seen again. The car was found with a blood-
stained interior and a lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene
in its boot. A warrant for his arrest was issued, but despite hundreds
of reported sightings, he has not been found and as of 2016 is legally
presumed dead.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1867:

In Angola, New York, U.S., the last coach of a Lake Shore
Railway train derailed, plunged 40 ft (12 m) down a gully, and caught
fire, resulting in 49 deaths.

1916:

The French defeated German forces around the city of Verdun-
sur-Meuse in northeast France, ending the longest and one of the
bloodiest battles in the First World War.

1939:

Second World War: The Luftwaffe victory over the Royal Air
Force in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight greatly influenced both
sides’ future air strategy.

1966:

Epimetheus, one of the moons of Saturn, was discovered, but was
mistaken for Janus. It took twelve years to determine that they are two
distinct objects sharing the same orbit.

1996:

The school board of Oakland, California, passed a controversial
resolution officially declaring African American Vernacular English as a
separate language or dialect.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

patroon:
(US) One of the landowning Dutch grandees of the Dutch colony of New
Amsterdam, especially after it became a British possession renamed as
New York.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  The animal which the Egyptians worshipped as divine, which the
Romans venerated as a symbol of liberty, which Europeans in the ignorant
Middle Ages anathematised as an agent of demonology, has displayed to
all ages two closely blended characteristics — courage and self-
respect. No matter how unfavourable the circumstances, both qualities
are always to the fore. Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a
sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the
puppy will grovel in abject submission to the impending visitation, the
kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance. … The cat of
the slums and alleys, starved, outcast, harried, still keeps amid the
prowlings of its adversity the bold, free, panther-tread with which it
paced of yore the temple courts of Thebes, still displays the self-
reliant watchfulness which man has never taught it to lay aside.  
–Saki

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